Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pee and Party

The party of the year is coming up on Saturday. Now I remember why we only throw a birthday bash for our daughter every other year. It's a whole lotta work. My pre-fete to-do list is as long as my forearm. My husband's to-do list: show up at the party. There are goodie bags to be filled, name tags to be made (21 kids and counting), decorations to be hung, cupcakes to be made, and so forth. I need to bring games for the kids who don't want to touch snakes, juice boxes for thirsty young'uns, and a flask so that I can make it through the whole thing. Just kidding - I would not bring a flask to my daughter's birthday party (to be held at a library).  I don't actually own a flask, but don't think I haven't thought about it, sister.

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, the kid got sick during Easter weekend and developed a significant fever. We took her to the doctor on Monday. I was very concerned about a possible kidney infection.  She has been peeing very frequently (and when I say frequently, sometimes it's as little as fifteen minutes from her last trip to the loo). It's not constant (seems to come and go), but has been worrisome all the same. I was hospitalized for a kidney infection as a small child, so I know how quickly a kid can go from not feeling great to being dangerously ill.  The doctor ran two urinalyses over the past month and both came back negative. Her pediatrician suggested we have her drink cranberry juice. This is easier said than done.  "It tastes like I'm swallowing smoke!" she keeps saying. We have no idea what that means.  She is never around smoke or smokers as far as I know. Again, it's one of those things you hope your child doesn't repeat at school ("my parents make me drink smoke!"). The other day I was turning on a kids' tv show for my daughter and she said, "I hope it's inappropriate!"

Anyway, we were sitting in the doctor's office on Monday and I was ready for battle.  I felt like I'd been blown off and not taken seriously on previous visits. In the meantime, A had developed a slightly stuffy nose. I was worried that the doctor would focus too much on this, when I was certain it was a red herring of sorts. Before I knew it, he'd jabbed a swab stick into her mouth, tested it, and announced that the kid has strep throat (even though her throat is not sore), is highly contagious, and must stay home from school on Tuesday. So, this was the source of the fever. All of it is unrelated to the urinary issues.

As for the pee problem, we were told that it is probably something called pollakiuria. The doctor gave us a handout on the topic. Honestly, the symptoms fit A to a tee: extremely frequent urination but without pain or burning, happens mostly in girls in preschool and Kindergarten, and typically goes away on its own after 6-8 weeks.  The diagnosis is a little vague for my liking, though. I suspected maybe it was something the clinic hands out in order to shut up crazed, overbearing mothers. But, we'll see.  The kid is on a ten-day course of antibiotics for the strep, and we'll see how she's doing after that. If the pee problems persist, we're planning to take her to a pediatric urologist.

P spent the last two days at home with her (since he has sick days out the wazoo). Actually I guess that'd be four days if you include the weekend. I think he has a whole new appreciation for stay-at-home moms.  When he drops her off at Kindercare tomorrow morning, I think there is a good chance he may not even come to a complete stop. A is excited to go back to school tomorrow (Friday was a holiday, so she's been out since last Thursday).  She said that everyone will ask where she was.  I suggested she simply say, "I was on sabbatical."  Sounds more exotic that way.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Fever

I think the tattoos on her hands really make the ensemble
Literally.  The kid spiked a 102 degree fever today. She is sick in the photo above, but we hadn't figured that out yet when I took it. I've given her some Tylenol and her temperature is down to 100 or so. She's in her bed now, reading quietly and not wanting any of her candy (which is a sure sign that she is under the weather).

The weekend started off well enough. After dinner on Friday, we dyed eggs. I set everything up and let her do most of the dyeing. Once I pointed out that she could use more than one color on a single egg, she went a bit overboard. The end result: several grey eggs. It's all good. She must be growing up because this is the first year that she didn't toss an egg into the bowl filled with eggs, thereby cracking half of them.

On Saturday, I went to Weight Watchers (I weighed the same as last week, right down to the ounce) and then took the kid to an egg hunt at a local wildlife sanctuary. We got ten inches of snow last week and even though the snow has melted, the ground is still pretty mucky. So, they held the egg hunt indoors this year.  They allow each child to collect exactly seven eggs, so it does cut down on the chaos a bit. On the way home, we stopped at a market featuring handmade items, and I bought a lavender-scented eye pillow. And possibly a cookie that I had no business eating. (Later in the afternoon, I attempted to take a brief rest and try out my eye pillow, but Gretchen kept licking it. So much for serenity.)

The second egg hunt of the day was held at 1 p.m. at a nursing home in our neighborhood.  This one was also held indoors.  A spotted a white plastic egg covered in red hearts, so she immediately stood over it and guarded it until the hunt started. I honestly think she would have fought off Cujo to get that egg. We ran into some of her friends from school and I got a few photos. My petite lass is a head shorter than most of her homies. Looking on the bright side, most of her clothes from last summer will fit again this summer.

I was headed to a concert out of town Saturday night, so I hit the road later in the afternoon.  I didn't get home until after 1 a.m. Needless to say, the kid got up at 6 a.m. to see if the Easter Bunny had visited her. I (bleary-eyed and barely conscious) followed her around with the camera for a few minutes and then gave up and went back to bed. I wasn't hung over or anything, just tired. I bought one drink at the concert . . . to the tune of $9.00.  I told my friend that if anyone bumped me and caused me to spill my drink, I would weep openly.

A few hours later this morning, I got my act together and the three of us went to church.  A didn't seem to want any candy, which I found odd.  We kept thinking that maybe she ate more than we thought on Saturday.  P told me that she'd fallen asleep at 8 the night before. She just wasn't acting right, but we couldn't put our finger on it. She seemed sullen at church and at brunch afterward.  The biggest clue: she didn't drink the chocolate milk we ordered for her. We never let her get chocolate milk, so this should have been a jubilant meal for her. Finally, I figured out that she was overly warm and took her temperature as soon as we got home.

So, she is reading "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" and watching Thumbelina, and her dad and I are trying to stay out of her Easter basket. So far, so good.  P and I prefer dark chocolate and as such, the Easter Bunny brought only milk chocolate. Clever rabbit, aye.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Fine Print

As you may recall, I've been fighting the whole "I need bi-focals" thing tooth and nail. I feared that getting bi-focals would in turn cause me to start playing bingo on Tuesday nights, talking about the weather way too frequently (and in far too much detail), and possibly start yelling at neighborhood children to "STAY OFF MY LAWN!"

Well, I gave in. The beginning of the end came two weeks ago when I purchased some seed packets so that my daughter and I could get our summer flower garden started (start the seeds indoors).  I had this grand plan for choosing flowers that are short enough for the planter that sits on our deck. So, as further proof that I was in need of optometrist-type intervention . . . P was looking at the Morning Glory packet and said, "Hey, you know these grow to twelve feet, right?"  Doh!  I thought I had chosen a 12-inch plant.  I guess 12" and 12' looked just the same to my old lady eyes. I have no idea what I'm going to do with those monstrous buggers. The kid and I planted a bunch of different seeds (we call ourselves "the haphazard gardeners") and will see what we get.

So yeah, my presbyopia is starting to cause me some grief. At the grocery store, I have to be able to read labels to make sure I'm not buying stuff containing dead animal flesh (it's more insidious than you'd think - even some baked goods have animal products in them).  I need to be able to read medication bottles for my child. Contracts, menus in darkened restaurants . . . the list goes on and on.

Finally, I made an appointment and threw myself on Dr. K's mercy. "I can't see but I don't want to wear glasses all the time," I told him. After my appointment, I had plans to head to Centergy class at the gym. In this class, you go from Downward Dog into a high lunge into Plank in about three seconds flat. Not only would my glasses fall off my face . . . with my skill and grace there is little doubt that I'd also manage to step on them in the process.

He gave me a pair of bi-focal contact lenses to try for a week before getting a regular prescription. I'm still having trouble with small print (even with the new lenses), so I may need to have my prescription adjusted, but they seem fine for the most part. :::sigh:::

Word to my mutha: I, your first-born child, am 41 and wear bi-focals. I just thought you should feel old, too.

An oldie but a goodie:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Two girls on my mind

When P and I were impatiently waiting for our daughter to be born (she was a week late and had to be induced), I never allowed myself to think about the possibility that the baby could have health issues. Her birthmom took care of herself during the pregnancy, but sometimes it doesn't matter what you do - a genetic roll of the dice can deliver a blow to anyone.  Fortunately, A was born completely healthy. Her body and brain both worked as expected. Like most moms, I spent the first year freaking out over the specter of SIDS and fretting about each milestone, making sure she rolled over on schedule and all that jazz. We've had a few issues with her ears (she now has tubes) and some sort of recurring urinary tract dealio that we're still puzzling through, but by and large the kid is healthy. God knows her mouth works just fine.

When A was a baby, I met lots of other moms through a "birth club board" on Babycenter.com (and still stay in touch with many of them on Facebook).  We each have a child born in May of 2005.  When all of the babies were born, they developed at approximately the same rate. Over time, though, some of the moms have encountered some unique challenges. A few of the kids fall somewhere on the autism spectrum. Some have sensory issues. Some have developmental and physical delays. We're not as close as we used to be, but we try to support each other and not go overboard with the "look what my kid can do!" stuff.

I've been thinking about health and children and rolling dice a lot lately because I have a friend whose daughter has been diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome.  I know Lisa through a private adoption-related blog (we are friends on Facebook as well). I'd love to get together with her in person, as I'm convinced we'd get along famously, but she has the audacity to live in Florida. She and her husband have two children (via adoption) and one due to arrive shortly (they baked this one themselves).  They adopted their son first and added a daughter last year.

It didn't take long before Lisa became aware that her daughter Susan wasn't hitting any of the expected first-year milestones.  Lisa, who is a nurse, mostly took it all in stride. "She can't do this or that," she'd say, "But she sure is a happy baby!" Eventually, as Susan drifted farther off course, Lisa and her husband started pushing to have some tests done.  Obviously in most cases it's not a big deal if kids don't sit up on schedule and that sort of thing. I mean, my daughter was a late walker, but it was clear she had the tools to walk - she just didn't have the motivation, I guess. But in Suzi's case, it was all adding up to something far more concerning. 

Last week, they got the diagnosis: Angelman Syndrome. Angelman Syndrome got a little bit of press in recent years after Colin Farrell's son was diagnosed with the disorder. Other than that, I'm sure most of us have never heard of it.  I read the links that Lisa sent me so that I could learn more about her daughter's condition. I barely made it through the first paragraph before my heart broke for my friend. Angelman Syndrome isn't something that can be cured at this point, since we don't have a way to re-arrange someone's chromosomes, replace missing pieces, and so forth. There is therapy, of course. But the fact remains: Susan has a challenging life ahead of her. Her condition will limit her intellectual and physical development. She will probably walk but may never talk.  Oddly enough, perpetual happiness is one of the hallmarks of the syndrome.  Suzi is grinning ear to ear in every photo I've ever seen of her.

I have no doubt that Lisa and her husband will provide Susan with whatever she needs (throughout her life) and that they'd readily take a bullet for their daughter if they had to. However, I know they are heartbroken.  It doesn't matter how much you love your child - you can't help but be devastated by the knowledge that he/she will never go to college, get married, or sneak out with the family car after you're asleep. It's the loss of something very dear.

I honestly don't know how to reconcile feeling grateful that my child is mentally and physically sound (albeit a feeling I have always had - it's certainly not a new development) while knowing that a friend's child is not. I can't get Suzi's beautiful smile off my mind.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dogs and cats and children, oh my

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about a pup named Patrick.  Patrick continues to thrive and is gaining weight steadily. He is doing well, and his fans are doing some pretty amazing things in his name.

Shortly after Patrick's story became known, this article came out.  My take: it's a cheap shot and fails to use basic logic.

People who care deeply about animals (and their rights, or lack thereof) are often portrayed as being a few bricks shy of a load.  This may be because some of them are. The writer of the article essentially makes the case that people who are concerned about animal rights do not care about children.  Gah!

I think I first became fully aware of child abuse when the Lisa Steinberg case hit the news (I was in high school at the time). She was adopted illegally, apparently knew nothing but abuse during her few short years on the planet, and then died after a fatal blow to the head. To this day, I am still haunted by the image that was all over the news at the time. It was a photograph of Lisa at school.  In it, she is sitting at her desk, not smiling, her hair appearing dirty and unkempt. She is holding a piece of candy corn in her little hands. Lisa was just six years old when she died.  My daughter will be six in just a couple of weeks.

In more recent years, I recall the case of Bruce Jackson (and his brothers). He was 19 and weighed as much as a first grader after his mother starved him for a dozen years or so. These two cases happen to involve adoptive parents, but of course there are countless examples of child abuse in biological families, too. I don't think anyone will forget Susan Smith any time soon.

Indeed, you don't have to wear Google out to find examples of child abuse. They are rampant and heartbreaking. However, I am under no obligation to prove that I care about children. It's kind of a given, don't you think?  What kind of psychopath would suggest that the abuse of a human being (of any age, really) is not an issue worth caring about?

I love my dogs and my cat dearly. I love my foster dogs, too. I talk to my furry companions. I hug them. I say things like, "Who's a good boy? You're a good boy!" I buy them cute collars. I spend time with them.  I do not, however, confuse them with children.  I am aware that my companions have some degree of devotion towards me, but I also know they are primarily concerned about their next meal and how soon I can get it to them. They are treated well and I adore them, but they are not children. 

What it boils down to is that animals, like children, are defenseless. There are, at least, laws on the books to protect human children. Joel Steinberg didn't serve nearly as much time in prison as he should have, but he did serve 16 years. Susan Smith is still in prison.

On the other hand, you can pour gasoline on a dog and set him ablaze in broad daylight, and you'll maybe get a small fine. You may be arrested, but you'll walk out of jail the same day. Slowly but surely, laws to protect animals are getting a bit stronger, but they are still insufficient. As long as a living, breathing creature has no more rights than the garbage bag in which Patrick was discarded, "crazies" like me will push for something better.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

In 30 years, I shall talk about . . .

I work in a business park with precious few lunch options nearby. My home is 20 minutes away from my office, so it doesn't work well to go home at lunch. So, I usually just bring my lunch and eat at my desk. However, the other day I felt like getting out of the office, so I went next door to the hospital. Now, before you think I've lost my mind ("who eats at a hospital on purpose?!"), this particular medical facility has a kick-ass cafeteria. I took my daughter there one time after one of her ear appointments and she has been begging me to take her back ever since.

Anyway, I grabbed a salad and settled at a table with the magazine I'd brought along.  I felt like kind of a tool for sitting at a table for four, but that's all that was available.  So, I was fairly relieved when an elderly couple came along and asked if they could sit at my table. "Absolutely!" I responded. 

They were a lovely twosome, she with her silver hair piled into a loose bun and he wearing a tweed newsboy cap . I had the impression they'd been married since Kennedy was in office (and possibly longer). She was pushing one of those walker things that doubles as a chair.  He dutifully moved a chair out of the way to make room for her at the table, and then set the tray in front of her.  They'd both gone for the hot lunch - some combination of meat and vegetables. Once they were both seated, they began to eat and chat.  I was reading my magazine and munching on my salad, but I couldn't help but hear most of what they were saying.  Would you like to know what a sweet, elderly couple talks about?  Absolute minutiae. 

Her: "There seems to be a lot of rice in this.  Do you think? Does it seem like a lot of rice?"
Him: "Yes, there's a lot of rice but also quite a few carrots."
Her: "The fish is good. How much was this anyway?"
Him: "$9 for both meals. It seems like you got a lot of fish."
Her: "Why wasn't so-and-so there this morning? I thought she'd be there."
Him: "So-and-so was there. Didn't you see her?"
Her: "What should we do with that old blanket? Throw it out? Or put on the swing outside until it gets dirty and then throw it out?"

And so on it went. I felt like I was seeing a ghost or something.  Is this me and P in 30 years or so? This morning we talked about the new Foo Fighters album (because we're still cool, dammit!). Is it only a matter of time until we are talking about the carrots to rice ratio of our dinner? Maybe I am closer to that stage than I think.  A kid (high school student) from my church sent me a friend request on Facebook. I accepted.  He's well-liked in our fellowship because he's very funny and is just an all-around nice guy.  Anyway, I literally do not understand anything he posts on Facebook.  Nothing.  So yeah, I'm growing less hip by the minute.

Of course, my husband and I have other reminders that we are getting older. The other day P picked up our daughter and propped her on his hip. She farted on him.  And then giggled hysterically.  He said, "When you get married, I'm going to tell your husband that you used to fart all the time."

She looked at him and responded, "But Daddy! You won't be alive!"

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

You don't drink, don't smoke, what do you do?

With the heartbreak open
So much you can't hide
Put on a little makeup makeup
Make sure they get your good side good side

I'll confess it here and now: I am a goody-two-shoes from way back. One day in sixth grade, a classmate named Debbie turned around in her chair, leaned across my desk, and said, "Claudia, you don't even cuss!" I don't remember my reaction but it was probably something along the lines of . . . "I'm supposed to be cussing? I'm eleven!" When the Adam Ant song came out a couple years later, some of my friends called it my theme song.

My mother tells people that I raised myself and that she didn't have to do much. I think it had a lot to do with me being the oldest child. There was a lot of turmoil in the house when I was growing up (until my parents divorced), and maybe I just had to mature faster than expected. I'm not fully certain.  Maybe this is why I act like a big kid at times now - I mean, I do get inordinately excited about cotton candy and festibuls.

When my middle sister came along (she is 4 1/2 years my junior), she was definitely more of a bad ass. Although she did graduate college and grow up to be an upright citizen and all, she gave the 'rents a run for their money during her formative years. Our stad used to joke that my sister was going to run off with a tattooed biker named Mildew. My youngest sister (11 1/2 years my junior) didn't get into much trouble.  I guess you could say she was more of a "head in the clouds" type.  If she didn't do her homework, it wasn't a willful act - she was merely thinking of other things.

My daughter and I share quite a few personality traits (despite the lack of any shared DNA), but she is not a goody-two-shoes.  She's actually quite feisty. When I was a kid and my mom told me to do something . . . well, I did it.  When I tell my daughter to do something (and it doesn't matter if I phrase it like a command or a polite request), she either tells me "no" outright or acts as though she's going to do it and then simply doesn't.  For example, the simple plea of "please put on your pajamas" can turn into a two-hour ordeal. It's almost like she's not happy until I'm sputtering the word "PAJAMAS!" at her like a crazy person. Meanwhile, she sits placid and naked, watching Spongebob Squarepants.

She gets a yellow warning almost daily at school.  Not getting a yellow warning is the exception to the rule. We joke that her teacher must be at Kinko's every night, making more yellow slips for our little cherub. She never makes it to red, so there's that. A's teacher tells me that even though my daughter is very chatty, she's not mean-spirited and doesn't exhibit personality traits that are much more difficult to correct. Most of the yellow warnings are for excessive talking or visiting at inappropriate times.  Last week she got in the yellow for slamming toilet lids in the girls' bathroom. Worse yet, she got a brand new student in trouble, too. She enticed this barely-speaks-English new kid into a life of petty crime. 

So yeah, I think I've got some challenging years ahead of me.  I figure her own version of Mildew is probably in the fourth grade right about now, sketching his future tattoos in the back of his spelling book. .

Saturday, April 9, 2011

How I know it's truly springtime

I've spotted a few of these:

The return of the red-winged blackbird - always a sure sign that winter is gone for good.
The snirt is almost gone:

I've recently enjoyed an adult beverage in this:

A gift from my mommy - I've got a pink one, too
Up with spring!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Addiction update (and whatnot)

I am happy to report that I did indeed kick my Diet Wild Chery Pepsi habit.  It has been four weeks since I enjoyed the sweet, bubbly, caffeine-laced beverage that I so love. I really wanted to get rid of the ones I have left in the refrigerator (give them away at work or something), but my husband refused because he "might want to mix them with rum."  Ever the supportive one, that guy. I have had a couple of rough days where I've wanted to open the fridge and lick one of the cans.  I say that with no pride in my voice, believe me.

After my break-up with Pepsi, my immediate challenge was: what the hell do I drink now?  On a typical work day, I would drink Crystal Light until 10 or so and then grab a soda. Now I just keep the Crystal Light on my desk the whole day (for what it's worth, I do realize that Crystal Light has chemicals in it, as does soda, but at least I'm ahead in the caffeine and carbonation categories).  I also keep a jug full at home.  It's safe to say that I'm all Crystal Light-ed out.  I recently discovered Sobe Lifewater and now I keep buying those (which aren't cheap).  Just trading one bad habit for another, I guess.

I have been attending my Weight Watchers meetings faithfully.  I've lost five pounds over the last month. I never know what to expect from the scale.  I'm currently 33.6 pounds under my original starting weight (September 2005) and approximately 33.2 pounds over my goal weight. And by "approximately" I mean "exactly."  I may as well be honest about it. I've been trying to mix up my workout routine a bit more.  I usually head for the treadmill at the gym but this week I climbed aboard an elliptical machine instead (works completely different muscles, as I found out the next morning).  I also tried a Centergy class yesterday, which is yoga and pilates. I made it through the class in one piece and then tripped in the parking lot on my way out and twisted my ankle. I'm a graceful one, aye.

I have also stuck with my "no eating after 6 p.m." plan, with only two exceptions (moms' night out stuff). I think that has probably made the biggest difference, honestly. An unarmed bag of chips starts looking mighty tempting in those hours after the sun sets. Since I can't be trusted just to have a few, it's better that I don't eat any.

Despite the progress I've made, I don't have a lot of confidence that I'll get back to my goal weight. I know I should be more positive about it, but I just don't think it's in the cards.  I'm just trying to focus on my health and hope that with that progress comes the possibility that my shorts will fit this summer (I didn't wear shorts one single time last summer).

In other news, I am busy planning my daughter's sixth birthday party.  I've booked a room (thanks to Angela Z for suggesting a location!) and roped my reptile rescue friend into bringing her posse to the party. I also need to thank the blog reader who suggested a graphic of a snake wearing a tiara, because I ran with that suggestion, too. I have no talent, so I got my artsy-fartsy friend Dave (who did not even question my odd request) to do it. Invitations are going out tomorrow. I've also decided to have a go at making cupcakes for the party.  Usually I just order a cake for the kid's birthday, but cupcakes will surely be easier.  I think we're going to have a fairly sizable crowd for the party. A is very excited, of course.  What I don't understand is how she came to be six years old. Did I not just bring her home from the hospital?

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Pooch Named Patrick

Because the heart beats under a covering of hair, of fur, feathers, or wings, it is, for that reason, to be of no account?   - Jean Paul Richter

Have you heard about Patrick the pit bull? Patrick (so named because he was found the day before St. Patrick's Day) was starved to the brink of death, placed in a garbage bag, and then tossed down a garbage chute.  It is worth mentioning that the person who allegedly tossed him down the chute lives on the 22nd floor.  A maintenance worker spotted the slightest movement inside that garbage bag and opened it.  Inside he found a skeleton, a skeleton that was, miraculously, still breathing. Thanks to the immediate medical attention he received after he was found, Patrick is alive.  He has many weeks (if not months) of recovery ahead of him, but he lives.  His Facebook page currently has well over 70,000 members.  His bony red head is all over the internet.

My Facebook news feed is typically full of animal-related new stories, pleas, and petitions. I'm able to (mentally) filter out a lot of it, to be honest.  As a rescue volunteer, I have to focus on one dog at a time.  If I fret over a dog on death row in faraway Atlanta, I'll lose my mind (as a side note, I hate how the pleas always come across as "to be destroyed on Thursday!" as if the dog is going to be blown up or something - the rescue biz is hard enough without throwing that kind of guilt around.)  Patrick's story, however, stuck out for me.  I've thought about him a lot over the past two weeks. Although I've never been particularly drawn to pit bulls (certain breeds do make my heart go pitty-pat, particularly: Boxers, Beagles, German Shepherds, Boston Terriers, and big black mutts), I cannot deny that Patrick's face could melt a glacier. I hope the poor dog has a good temperament.  In my volunteer work with a Boxer rescue organization, I have occasionally seen cases where a dog has been rehabilitated only to exhibit unadoptable behavior later on.

We all owe a debt of gratitude to Patrick, because he puts a face (a very cute one at that) on something that goes on every minute of every day. At this point, I'm not at all worried about this adorable pup from New Jersey. I have no doubt that he'll have many suitors and will be adopted into an exceptional and loving home (it wouldn't surprise me if one of his caregivers decides to keep him - it is really hard to give up a dog that you have nursed from sickness into health). As soon as Patrick's story hit the news, donors immediately came forward and covered the cost of his care.  Fortunately, the folks who are handling the communication regarding Patrick's health status have taken advantage of his notoriety by directing the public's attention towards other dogs in need.  It's a good use of the platform, which is likely to be a temporary one (news stories come and go so fast, it seems). But for now, I'm happy to see that people are riled about Patrick and his abuser.  Things get done when people are riled. Animal lovers are demanding stricter penalties for abusers and one hopes that, eventually, lawmakers will listen. As a side note, have you ever noticed that when some asshat is accused of starving an animal, that person certainly appears as though they've never missed a meal themselves?

As for me, I'm glad that people are worked up about this dog and what was done to him. Maybe a few shelters will gain some extra volunteers and/or adopters as a result. There are lots of Patricks out there. Of course, there is always a part of me that wonders how one can look at a dog and think, "you're adorable" and then look at a pig (an animal that has been proven to be every bit as smart as a dog) and think, "you're delicious."  I'm still convinced that if all the world had to kill their own food, there'd be a lot more vegetarians. But, I digress.

For most of us who work/volunteer for shelters and rescues, our day-to-day efforts are much quieter and less dramatic than a story like Patrick's. Our organization has helped over 700 Boxers to date. There's no real fanfare, just a brief "hurrah!" for each adoption and then we check the incoming list to see who's next. We do love (and are buoyed by) our supporters, of course. It amazes me how many of our adopters quietly and discreetly send a check to our P.O. Box, often with an encouraging "keep up the good work!" note attached (and expecting nothing in return). While a group like Rescue Ink gets a lot of attention, thousands of other groups just keep plugging away in relative anonymity. Now, don't get me wrong - I love Rescue Ink.  What's not to like about tattooed bad boys with big hearts?  My point is just that animal rescue is seldom about swooping in and plucking an animal from the very jaws of death. It's more akin to feeling like Sisyphus every single day. We place one dog and two more appear in her place. The boulder just keeps rolling back down. Maybe all it takes is a story like Patrick's to give us the inspiration to push it back up there one more time.